So, this year, my mother sends me, at the end of November, a picture of which new piece she wants from the collection. The catalog we generally use has a horribly designed web site, and can be a bit slow in updating when things are out of stock on the web page. Plus, they don't offer gift wrap and shipping can be a little expensive.
I do a little searching, and find GiftCollector.com . Not only do they have a nice web site, they have the piece my mother wants, IN STOCK (according to the web site) - A four piece set of fruit/salad dishes. Better yet, it is at a discounted price, they offer reasonable shipping, PLUS gift wrap. I can have it all shipped directly to my mom, she'll have her dishes, and I'll be good daughter.
So, I order them on December 8th. I get confirmation emails, all seems well, everything shows up as in stock. TODAY, December 20th, (12 days later!) I get an email saying that the item is out of stock, plus its discontinued, and they are sorry for the inconvenience.
Now, I could understand the web site lagging behind stock, as long as I'm notified in a timely matter (one day, maybe two, if its a weekend). I could see them attempting to get stock, but they should have told me immediately that they were out of stock so I'd have the option to find the piece elsewhere. Other sites did have the piece in stock back on the 8th, but either for not as cheap, or they didn't offer gift wrap.
Since they waited 12 days, my mom won't be getting the one present she asked for. No one else has it in stock at this point and I can't even order it direct from the manufacturer in England - they are out of stock as well. I'll have to find it on the secondary market, if I can, and pay a premium for it. Luckily it isn't the only present I got for my mother - but it was the one she particularly asked for.